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EXCLUSIVE: 22 U.S. senators call for marriage equality plank in Dem platform

Feinstein, Kerry, Cardin among those expressing support; list continues to grow

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein is among the U.S. senators backing the inclusion of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A group of U.S. senators is joining the wave of LGBT rights supporters calling for an endorsement of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform.

The Washington Blade received statements from the offices of 22 Democratic senators — including Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — expressing support for including a marriage equality plank in the Democratic Party platform. The Blade solicited statements from all 53 Democratic senators and will update this article as more senators respond.

The senators follow the lead of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who on Tuesday became the first U.S. senator this year to get behind the idea of including same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform. Shaheen, who’s also a co-chair of President Obama’s national campaign committee, said she backs a plank in support of marriage equality proposed by the LGBT organization Freedom to Marry.

In addition to calling for an inclusion of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform, the language also backs overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and passing DOMA repeal legislation known as the Respect for Marriage Act in addition to opposing state constitutional amendments aimed at blocking gay couples from marriage rights.

The 22 senators are Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

The platform committee is set to discuss and agree upon language in the Democratic Party platform when it gathers for the Democratic National Convention Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C. Officials with Democratic National Committee have declined to comment on whether the platform will be “marriage-equality inclusive.

A number of senators issued statements to the Blade saying they want marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform without offering an explicit endorsement of language as proposed by Freedom to Marry:

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)

“I support a pro-marriage equality plank. Discrimination in our marital laws or otherwise against any Coloradan or American because of sexual orientation is unacceptable. Two people who want to enter into a loving committed relationship should be afforded the same legally recognized rights and benefits I enjoys with my wife.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)

“I strongly support marriage equality and efforts to make that a reality for all Americans, including adding marriage equality language to our party’s platform. I was proud to be one of the 14 senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, and we cannot stop until we repeal this unjust law and start treating all our families with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

“Of course marriage equality should be a part of the Democratic Party platform. It should be a part of the Republican Party platform, too. Whom you love should have no bearing on your access to the equal rights due every American citizen. It is time the law recognizes what the majority of Americans already recognize is a human right: marrying the person you love. Democrats have led the way in significant marriage equality victories in the states these last few years, so for the Democratic Party to not include marriage equality in our platform now would be to miss an important opportunity to reinforce and strengthen our continued national leadership on the issue.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

“As the author of the bill to repeal DOMA and one of 14 senators who voted against DOMA in 1996, I strongly believe marriage equality should be part of the Democratic platform.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)

“Marriage equality is one of the most significant civil rights battles of our time, and the Democratic Party must address this issue in its platform. The New Jersey legislature bravely passed legislation to provide marriage equality in our state, and I have co-sponsored legislation in the Senate to repeal DOMA. We will continue this fight until same-sex couples have the right to marry and every family in our country is provided the same legal protections.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)

“Fundamentally, I do not view this as an issue of special rights, but simply one of equal rights. No American should have to wait outside a hospital room while their loved one suffers inside. No American should lose their inheritance simply because the federal government does not recognize the couple’s marriage. No child should feel that their parents are somehow less equal under the law than their best friend’s parents. This kind of discrimination cannot be tolerated in our society as a matter of law. Our world is changing and our society must change with them. I fully support making marriage equality a fundamental piece of the Democratic Party platform.”

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)

“As you may know, Maryland recently passed legislation legalizing same sex marriage. Consistent with that, I would support the inclusion of language in the Democratic platform that calls for the repeal of DOMA, and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. I would also support language stating clearly that all Americans deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and that all Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law, guaranteed by our Constitution.” (Rachel MacKnight, a Mikulski spokesperson, clarified her boss wants the inclusion of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform.)

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

“Equality is something that has always been a hallmark of America and no group should be deprived it. Marriage equality is no different and it’s time for our nation to recognize that.” (Mike Morrey, a Schumer spokesperson, confirmed the senator wants same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform.)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

“As a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, one of 14 senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act, and a longtime believer in allowing all people the freedom to marry the one they love, I encourage the Democratic Party to stand together with those who want equality in marriage so they don’t have to face this battle alone.”

Other senators — including two where same-sex marriage was recently signed into law — went further and sent statements saying they back language as proposed by Freedom to Marry.

Freedom to Marry’s proposed language, included as part of its “Democrats: Say I Do!” campaign that was launched Feb. 13, follows. According to the organization, more than 28,000 people have the signed online petition in support of the language.

“The Democratic Party supports the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

“I believe in equality for all families and think we should be looking at ways to expand civil rights, not reduce them. I’m fully supportive of the language in question.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)

“Yes, I support the inclusion of such language in the Democratic Party platform. I am a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act that would repeal DOMA and I am dedicated to ensuring protections against any form of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This is consistent with the Maryland legislature’s passage of legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)

“I think this is an historic moment for the Democratic Party in our commitment to equal opportunity and our opposition to discrimination. In its significance, it’s not unlike the floor fight Hubert Humphrey led at the Democratic convention in 1948 to make clear the Party’s commitment to civil rights for African Americans, but the difference is that back then we were a Party divided, whereas now I think it’s a mainstream Democratic position to care about these protections for gay Americans, and I’m proud of that. We’ve made big strides. We ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and that put a close to an era that one day will seem as antiquated as the days before President Truman desegregated the military. When we pass the Respect for Marriage Act, so too will the era of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act be anachronistic in a country where we don’t believe there should be any second class citizens. I support marriage equality and I think Massachusetts has taught the country an important lesson about how marriage equality can work. I was pleased to see New York and Washington follow that example. No one should be worried about a party platform that celebrates those advances.” (Whitney Smith, a Kerry spokesperson, said her boss supports Freedom to Marry’s language.)

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.)

“Fighting against discrimination in all its forms, including discrimination based on sexual orientation, is a hallmark of our party. I support passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, and I support efforts to ensure that government does not interfere with the freedom to marry.” (Tara Andringa, a Levin spokesperson, said her boss believes the platform committee should adopt the language proposed by Freedom to Marry.)

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)

“I strongly support marriage equality for all Americans. It’s a question of fundamental fairness and the bedrock principle that we are all the same under the law. It should be part of the platform.” (Julie Edwards, a Merkley spokesperson, said her boss supports Freedom to Marry’s effort.)

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

“As a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act and a strong believer that we should be focused on broadening the civil rights of all Americans, this is certainly language that I would support.”

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)

“This is an issue the American people are ahead of us on. It’s about time that our big tent party make it clear in its platform that every American, regardless of sexual orientation, should have the ability to marry the person they love, to make that public promise of commitment and mutual accountability in front of their family and friends, affirming their dedication to their partner by accepting the responsibility of marriage. I believe these bonds help strengthen our society.” (Jennifer Tallheim, a Udall spokesperson, said the senator supports Freedom to Marry’s proposed plank.)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in a statement from Freedom to Marry:

“I’m proud to join Freedom to Marry’s ‘Democrats: Say, I Do’ campaign. Along with the more than 20,000 Americans who have already signed the online petition, I call on the Democratic Platform Committee to affirm the freedom to marry in our party’s national convention platform this September.  Any Democratic statement of core beliefs about the importance of families must include all our families, gay and straight.  Our party has a long tradition of leading the charge on important questions of justice.  Now is the time for the Democratic Party to stand up for the rights of same-sex couples and their families.”

Spokespersons for Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said their bosses support this language, but didn’t provide statements attributable to their respective senators.

Similarly, Bethany Lesser, a spokesperson for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), also told the Blade her boss, the Senator, supports the plank as written by Freedom to Marry.

“As a lead sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, and a tireless advocate in the fight to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, Sen. Gillibrand is helping to lead the fight for equality in the Senate,” Lesser said. “There will be a clear contrast in this election between the two parties on issues of equality, justice and fairness.”

Kate Cyrul, a spokesperson for Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), said her boss supports including marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform, but isn’t endorsing any specific platform language. Ed Shelleby, a spokesperson for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) also said the senator support including marriage equality language in the platform.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, praised these senators for their endorsements and said his organization looks forward “to working with them and their Democratic colleagues to move forward this crucial plank.”

“These senators from across the nation all know firsthand that marriage matters to gay and lesbian couples, their kids, and their kin,” Wolfson said. “Their support shows real momentum among Democrats to make sure that the party does what the Democratic Party does at its best — fight discrimination in all its incarnations and lead the way forward toward a more perfect union.”

The offices of other senators responded to the Blade’s solicitation in other ways. David Carle, a spokesperson for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), noted he has taken a lead role in the effort to repeal DOMA in the Senate, but added “as far as potential platform issues are concerned, no groups have discussed ideas with him.”

Spokespersons for the offices of Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said they had no comment on including same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform. The offices of other senators didn’t immediately respond to the Blade’s solicitation.

Others who’ve endorsed a marriage equality-inclusive Democratic Party platform include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Young Democrats of America Executive Director Emily Sussman, and the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Huffington Post reported this week that former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold is also supportive. On Thursday, The Advocate reported that four of Obama’s national committee co-chairs — Bennet, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) — also back including marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform.

The endorsement of these individuals puts them at odds with President Obama, who doesn’t support same-sex marriage, but continues to say he could evolve to support marriage equality. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment on whether Obama wants to see support for same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform.

NOTE: The article has been updated to reflect the growing number of senators who support including marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform.

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Biden announces pardons for thousands convicted of federal marijuana possession

“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana.  It’s time that we right these wrongs”

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(Photo courtesy of NORML)

President Biden traveling in New York state on Thursday announced that he was granting a pardon of all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana.

Taking aim at federal conviction rates for marijuana possession, Biden noted in a statement released by the White House, “while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”

This announcement by the president comes roughly a month before the midterm elections that will decide whether the president’s party can hold on to control of Congress. Democratic and progressive candidates have pushed the administration for action on this issue which which many Democratic activists have long called for.

The White House estimates will affect more than 6,500 people and in conjunction with his action today Biden is asking that all Governors to do the same with regard to state offenses.

Statement from President Biden on Marijuana Reform

As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.  Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.  And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.
 
Today, I am announcing three steps that I am taking to end this failed approach.
 
First, I am announcing a pardon of all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana.  I have directed the Attorney General to develop an administrative process for the issuance of certificates of pardon to eligible individuals.  There are thousands of people who have prior Federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result.  My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.
 
Second, I am urging all Governors to do the same with regard to state offenses.  Just as no one should be in a Federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.
 
Third, I am asking the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.  Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances.  This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic. 
 
Finally, even as federal and state regulation of marijuana changes, important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and under-age sales should stay in place.
 
Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana.  It’s time that we right these wrongs. 

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New Supreme Court term includes critical LGBTQ case with ‘terrifying’ consequences

Business owner seeks to decline services for same-sex weddings

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The U.S. Supreme Court is to set consider the case of 303 Creative, which seeks to refuse design services for same-sex weddings. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The U.S. Supreme Court, after a decision overturning Roe v. Wade that still leaves many reeling, is starting a new term with justices slated to revisit the issue of LGBTQ rights.

In 303 Creative v. Elenis, the court will return to the issue of whether or not providers of custom-made goods can refuse service to LGBTQ customers on First Amendment grounds. In this case, the business owner is Lorie Smith, a website designer in Colorado who wants to opt out of providing her graphic design services for same-sex weddings despite the civil rights law in her state.

Jennifer Pizer, acting chief legal officer of Lambda Legal, said in an interview with the Blade, “it’s not too much to say an immeasurably huge amount is at stake” for LGBTQ people depending on the outcome of the case.

“This contrived idea that making custom goods, or offering a custom service, somehow tacitly conveys an endorsement of the person — if that were to be accepted, that would be a profound change in the law,” Pizer said. “And the stakes are very high because there are no practical, obvious, principled ways to limit that kind of an exception, and if the law isn’t clear in this regard, then the people who are at risk of experiencing discrimination have no security, no effective protection by having a non-discrimination laws, because at any moment, as one makes their way through the commercial marketplace, you don’t know whether a particular business person is going to refuse to serve you.”

The upcoming arguments and decision in the 303 Creative case mark a return to LGBTQ rights for the Supreme Court, which had no lawsuit to directly address the issue in its previous term, although many argued the Dobbs decision put LGBTQ rights in peril and threatened access to abortion for LGBTQ people.

And yet, the 303 Creative case is similar to other cases the Supreme Court has previously heard on the providers of services seeking the right to deny services based on First Amendment grounds, such as Masterpiece Cakeshop and Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In both of those cases, however, the court issued narrow rulings on the facts of litigation, declining to issue sweeping rulings either upholding non-discrimination principles or First Amendment exemptions.

Pizer, who signed one of the friend-of-the-court briefs in opposition to 303 Creative, said the case is “similar in the goals” of the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation on the basis they both seek exemptions to the same non-discrimination law that governs their business, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, or CADA, and seek “to further the social and political argument that they should be free to refuse same-sex couples or LGBTQ people in particular.”

“So there’s the legal goal, and it connects to the social and political goals and in that sense, it’s the same as Masterpiece,” Pizer said. “And so there are multiple problems with it again, as a legal matter, but also as a social matter, because as with the religion argument, it flows from the idea that having something to do with us is endorsing us.”

One difference: the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation stemmed from an act of refusal of service after owner, Jack Phillips, declined to make a custom-made wedding cake for a same-sex couple for their upcoming wedding. No act of discrimination in the past, however, is present in the 303 Creative case. The owner seeks to put on her website a disclaimer she won’t provide services for same-sex weddings, signaling an intent to discriminate against same-sex couples rather than having done so.

As such, expect issues of standing — whether or not either party is personally aggrieved and able bring to a lawsuit — to be hashed out in arguments as well as whether the litigation is ripe for review as justices consider the case. It’s not hard to see U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has sought to lead the court to reach less sweeping decisions (sometimes successfully, and sometimes in the Dobbs case not successfully) to push for a decision along these lines.

Another key difference: The 303 Creative case hinges on the argument of freedom of speech as opposed to the two-fold argument of freedom of speech and freedom of religious exercise in the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation. Although 303 Creative requested in its petition to the Supreme Court review of both issues of speech and religion, justices elected only to take up the issue of free speech in granting a writ of certiorari (or agreement to take up a case). Justices also declined to accept another question in the petition request of review of the 1990 precedent in Smith v. Employment Division, which concluded states can enforce neutral generally applicable laws on citizens with religious objections without violating the First Amendment.

Representing 303 Creative in the lawsuit is Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that has sought to undermine civil rights laws for LGBTQ people with litigation seeking exemptions based on the First Amendment, such as the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.

Kristen Waggoner, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote in a Sept. 12 legal brief signed by her and other attorneys that a decision in favor of 303 Creative boils down to a clear-cut violation of the First Amendment.

“Colorado and the United States still contend that CADA only regulates sales transactions,” the brief says. “But their cases do not apply because they involve non-expressive activities: selling BBQ, firing employees, restricting school attendance, limiting club memberships, and providing room access. Colorado’s own cases agree that the government may not use public-accommodation laws to affect a commercial actor’s speech.”

Pizer, however, pushed back strongly on the idea a decision in favor of 303 Creative would be as focused as Alliance Defending Freedom purports it would be, arguing it could open the door to widespread discrimination against LGBTQ people.

“One way to put it is art tends to be in the eye of the beholder,” Pizer said. “Is something of a craft, or is it art? I feel like I’m channeling Lily Tomlin. Remember ‘soup and art’? We have had an understanding that whether something is beautiful or not is not the determining factor about whether something is protected as artistic expression. There’s a legal test that recognizes if this is speech, whose speech is it, whose message is it? Would anyone who was hearing the speech or seeing the message understand it to be the message of the customer or of the merchants or craftsmen or business person?”

Despite the implications in the case for LGBTQ rights, 303 Creative may have supporters among LGBTQ people who consider themselves proponents of free speech.

One joint friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court, written by Dale Carpenter, a law professor at Southern Methodist University who’s written in favor of LGBTQ rights, and Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment legal scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, argues the case is an opportunity to affirm the First Amendment applies to goods and services that are uniquely expressive.

“Distinguishing expressive from non-expressive products in some contexts might be hard, but the Tenth Circuit agreed that Smith’s product does not present a hard case,” the brief says. “Yet that court (and Colorado) declined to recognize any exemption for products constituting speech. The Tenth Circuit has effectively recognized a state interest in subjecting the creation of speech itself to antidiscrimination laws.”

Oral arguments in the case aren’t yet set, but may be announced soon. Set to defend the state of Colorado and enforcement of its non-discrimination law in the case is Colorado Solicitor General Eric Reuel Olson. Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would grant the request to the U.S. solicitor general to present arguments before the justices on behalf of the Biden administration.

With a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that has recently scrapped the super-precedent guaranteeing the right to abortion, supporters of LGBTQ rights may think the outcome of the case is all but lost, especially amid widespread fears same-sex marriage would be next on the chopping block. After the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against 303 Creative in the lawsuit, the simple action by the Supreme Court to grant review in the lawsuit suggests they are primed to issue a reversal and rule in favor of the company.

Pizer, acknowledging the call to action issued by LGBTQ groups in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, conceded the current Supreme Court issuing the ruling in this case is “a terrifying prospect,” but cautioned the issue isn’t so much the makeup of the court but whether or not justices will continue down the path of abolishing case law.

“I think the question that we’re facing with respect to all of the cases or at least many of the cases that are in front of the court right now, is whether this court is going to continue on this radical sort of wrecking ball to the edifice of settled law and seemingly a goal of setting up whole new structures of what our basic legal principles are going to be. Are we going to have another term of that?” Pizer said. “And if so, that’s terrifying.”

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DOJ urged to investigate threats against providers of transition-related care

Boston-area hospital forced to evacuate in August

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A coalition of major health organizations are calling on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigation threats against providers of gender transition-related medical care for youth, asserting ongoing hostility, including bomb threats and threats of personal violence.

The letter, dated Oct. 3, says medical providers are facing threats for providing “evidence-based health care” to youth, which has meant care for gender transitions, such as hormones, puberty blockers and gender reassignment surgery. The targets of these threats, the letter says, are children’s hospitals, academic health systems and physicians across the country.

“These coordinated attacks threaten federally protected rights to health care for patients and their families,” the letter says. “The attacks are rooted in an intentional campaign of disinformation, where a few high-profile users on social media share false and misleading information targeting individual physicians and hospitals, resulting in a rapid escalation of threats, harassment and disruption of care across multiple jurisdictions.”

The letter has an organizational signature from American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and Children’s Hospital Association, listing no names as representatives. According to the letter, the group represent 270,000 physicians and medical students and CHA represents more than 220 children’s hospitals across the country.

Major health organizations call on the U.S. Justice Department to take action weeks after Boston Children’s Hospital was forced to evacuate over a bomb threat. Authorities later arrested a woman charged with making the after she reportedly phoned in the threat and called the staff “sickos.”

The threats, the letter says, have had significant impact on providers and services to patients, including a new mother being prevented from being with her preterm infant because of a bomb threat; the need for increased security at children’s hospitals; and staffers facing “increased threats via social media – including to their personal accounts.”

A statement from organizations accompanying the letter urges social media companies — including Twitter, TikTok and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram — to “do more to prevent coordinated campaigns of disinformation.”

Jack Resneck, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement accompanying the letter “individuals in all workplaces have the right to a safe environment, out of harm’s way and free of intimidation or reprisal.”

“As physicians, we condemn groups that promote hate-motivated intolerance and toxic misinformation that can lead to grave real-world violence and extremism and jeopardize patients’ health outcomes,” Resneck said.

The Washington Blade has placed a call in with the Justice Department seeking comment on the letter and the American Medical Association seeking comment on why the letter has organizational signatures as opposed to signatures from any of their representatives.

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